Man ... hard to believe that it's Monday. Not sure where the weekend got to, but it left like a rocket.
Part of that is due to having spent Saturday night at Powell Hall for the second time in less than a month. Took the mother to see jazz trumpeter Chris Botti in his debut with the St. Louis Symphony. (For whatever reason, plans always make the weekend move at warp speed.)
We were able to circumvent I-70 on the way there, thank God, as it was a virtual parking lot. Armed with my trusty GPS, we maneuvered through some fun parts of St. Louis, some of which would not be unfamiliar at all to my dear friend, CD, including a certain street (begins with H and ends with T) and a park ... We got there without incident, found a parking space in a secured lot not far from the concert hall, and, at that point, the weather remained unseasonably pleasant.
In addition to being a talented trumpeter, Botti is a showman. This is probably why I like these shows almost as much as the mother. (I'm not a huge jazz fan, though there are songs in the genre I like as well as anything.) His humor never fails to punctuate the night staccato-style.
Botti always has guests and this show was no exception. However, the guests were exceptional. The first was singer Lisa Fischer. In addition to doing her own solo gigs, she's done backup for a variety of performers from the late Luther Vandross to the Rolling Stones. She's been touring with Botti for the past year or so and she was a welcome addition.
The lady belted out a mean version of "The Look of Love" but her coup of the evening was singing Botti's "Italia," a song practically written for and popularized by famed tenor Andrea Bocelli. Fischer showed her range by singing in Bocelli's key!
His other guest was violin soloist Caroline Campbell. She joined Botti for Emmanuel, which, if you don't know Botti and you check out nothing else, definitely CHECK THIS OUT. It is a truly beautiful song. (That's Lucia Micarelli, who recorded the song with Botti. Campbell did a great job of living up to the bar Micarelli set for this song.)
She blew it out of the water performing Puccini's Nessun Dorma, though. There's debate about which instrument is closest to the human voice -- the sax, cello, and clarinet are usual suspects. And the violin. If you heard Campbell playing this, I don't think there would be any doubt.
The only disappointment of the evening was that Botti played so little. Not that he didn't play and play in his normally superior state ... but with all the guests and giving due to both his band (including recent Grammy winner Billy Childs on piano) and the Symphony, we didn't get nearly as much Botti as his shows generally afford.
It was starting to rain as we left Powell. Not hard, so we made it back to Pearl sans umbrellas. (And of course it would rain. I scrubbed the hell out of Pearl on Saturday afternoon, not that you could even tell it now.)
The miracle of the evening is that we didn't get shot on the way home. Washington Avenue was blocked up for miles and having the mother slip into 2-year-old mode and into an Ican'twaittogetoffthisstreet whine, I tried to detour. For some reason, the GPS chose some of the city's meanest streets to take us down. At one point, a little fearful of my surroundings, I started defying it.
Turn right on Mulberry, the GPS directed. I drove past. Recalculating ... This went on for 10 minutes, during which I SWEAR the GPS was getting infinitely more frustrated each time it uttered "recalculating."
Finally, I started seeing familiar street names again. And, while they still weren't in the best neighborhood, they were high-traffic, familiar and a stone's throw from my bridge back into Illinois! With the bridge in sight, the rain really began to fall. I felt lucky that we hadn't gotten drenched earlier as we made our way back to the car.
All in all, it was a fun show and a good night. It was very nice though to hear the GPS utter (since I hadn't shut it off once we were back on familiar ground) "now appproaching HOME."